A New Way to Think About Sports Injuries?

In a recent essay about NFL injuries for our "Football Freakonomics" series on NFL.com, I concluded:

If I were an NFL owner, GM, or coach, I'd set aside a little pot of money to try to answer some of these questions empirically. There is a lot of advantage to be gained by keeping even a few more players per season off the injured reserve list -- to say nothing of the fact that it's the right thing to do.

This prompted an interesting e-mail from Ryan Comeau:

Dynamic Athletics is a biomechanics company focused on athletes and people recovering from orthopedic injuries. Our technology has been in development for 8 years but we've only had our doors open for 7 months now. We process 3D motion-capture files in a way that deliver the full palate of kinematic & kinetic data (without force plates). This immense amount of data collected about an athlete's ability to move & how exactly they produce their movement, if managed properly, becomes a valuable time capsule for the athlete or those managing a team.

The Slightly-Bright Side for Boomers in the Recession

A new working paper (full version here) by Alan L. Gustman, Thomas L. Steinmeier, and Nahid Tabatabai examines the impact the Great Recession has had on the wealth and income of Baby Boomers nearing retirement. It finds, somewhat surprisingly, that their aggregate wealth decreased very little over the past few years:

The retirement wealth held by those ages 53 to 58 before the onset of the recession in 2006 declined by a relatively modest 2.8 percentage points by 2010. ... Very few in the population nearing retirement age have experienced multiple adverse events. Although most of the loss in wealth is due to a fall in the net value of housing, because very few in this cohort have found their housing wealth under water, and housing is the one asset this cohort is not likely to cash in for another decade or two, there is time for their losses in housing wealth to recover.

Home Sales Even Worse Than Reported Says the Primary Agency That Reports Them

Far fewer homes have been sold over the past five years than previously estimated, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday.

That's from a CNNMoney.com report by Blake Ellis.

While NAR hasn't revealed exactly how big the revision to home sales will be, the agency's chief economist Lawrence Yun said the decrease will be "meaningful." ...

Yun said the database NAR uses to track existing home sales, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), has led the real estate agency to over-count existing home sales for several reasons.

The MLS database only includes home sales listed by realtors, and excludes homes listed by owners, providing a very narrow view of the market. And because more people are using realtors to list their homes instead of selling them independently, realtor-listed sales numbers have become artificially inflated, said Yun.

I cannot make sense of that last paragraph; can anyone else?

FWIW, back in 2007 we ran a Quorum on this blog asking the question "Is it time to believe in the housing bubble?" Lawrence Yun was one of the respondents:

The Dollar Coin is Done. Onto the Penny?

In June, NPR's Planet Money reported on the billion-dollar stash of unused dollar coins piling up at the Federal Reserve. At the time, there were $1.2 billion worth of dollar coins bearing the likeness of U.S. presidents, the result of a 2005 Congressional mandate aimed at getting people to switch from dollar bills to coins. Obviously, that didn't work. The program, which cost some $300 million, is finally ending.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the pile of unwanted dollar coins has grown to $1.4 billion -- enough to meet demand for the next decade. More than 40 percent of all coins have been returned to the government, according to the Treasury Department. The program was supposed to run through 2016, and stamp the likeness of every U.S. president onto a dollar coin.

To Ask or Not to Ask: Experiments in Charitable Giving

Our recent podcast "What Makes a Donor Donate?" features economist John List, who has concentrated his research on the science of philanthropy. In short, when it comes to convincing people to give, some ways are better than others. But what about just directly asking them?

A new study from authors James Andreoni, Justin M. Rao, and Hannah Trachtman examines the way people behave when solicited for donations by bell-ringers from the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign. The authors designed an experiment where bell-ringers were sent to a grocery store in suburban Boston, and positioned at either one or both of the store's entrances.

How American Food Got So Bad (Ep. 53): Full Transcript

This is the full transcript for "How American Food Got So Bad."

Kai Ryssdal: Time now for a little Freakonomics Radio, that moment of our lives -- every couple of weeks -- where we talk to with Stephen Dubner, the co-author of the books and blog of the same name. The subject matter is the hidden side of everything.

Dubner, it's good to talk to you my friend.

Stephen Dubner: Good to talk to you Kai. And I have a question for you if you don't mind.

Ryssdal: Of course, that's kind of how these things go, isn't it?

Dubner: On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate America's food -- I'm curious to know?

Ryssdal: OK, big topics. Uh... 7.3.

Dubner: Yeah, all right. So... um...

Ryssdal: So is there a right answer?

Dubner: No, there is no right answer. I was just curious. You know why? Because we love to complain about our food.

Ryssdal: Yes.

Dubner: And for those who like to complain, there's a new book coming out called "An Economist Gets Lunch," by Tyler Cowen. And he explains -- how he puts it -- "How American Food Got Bad." And some of the explanations are really interesting. For starters, he blames Prohibition.